Tag Archives: fear

Time-out

It had been one of those days.

Beginning with me coughing a good deal (don’t worry it’s my asthma, nothing else).

Changes in weather can have an affect on my health and it’s turned cold here.

I’d gotten up late.

I told Anne I felt like I was moving in slow motion.

God carried me through the morning and afternoon, which I was very thankful for.

But I’d really been looking forward to just resting on the couch after dinner.

Life sometimes disappoints, due to our expectations.

That’s what I was feeling.

Of course, if I’d prayed about God’s plan for my evening, I wouldn’t have been disappointed.

So, as it became more and more evident I wasn’t going to be able to rest, I found myself falling into pity, self-pity.

A short phone call was the last straw for me.

I knew what needed to happen: time-out!

I picked up my crocheting and headed to my prayer closet.

“Lord, my attitude stinks. I’m a mess.”

Let it go.

“Lord, I don’t want to. I’m tired, I feel miserable, I just wanted to rest.”

Trust Me.

“Lord, it’s that I’m afraid. If I push it, I’ll be worse tomorrow and I have so much that needs to be done. I’m just scared…”

I know.

Sometimes the spoiled child within needs a severe spanking, because they just keep screaming, “I don’t want to!”.

I was determined not to leave time-out until my heart was completely surrendered to Jesus.

“Lord, please help me. I’m really struggling with letting go.”

Praise Me.

My coughing wouldn’t allow me to sing, but I knew that wasn’t required.

I found a YouTube video which always leads my heart into worship and hit play.

The spoiled child quieted.

Fear relinquished it’s hold, unable to withstand the truth of God’s goodness.

It was exactly what I needed.

Later, when my husband got home and had eaten the supper our son had cooked, he pulled out his guitar.

He played Christmas songs and we all enjoyed it so much.

Then I got on the piano and played a few Christmas songs.

Afterwards, our son got out the Christmas decorations and my husband set up the tree.

It turned out to be a wonderful evening, far better than my selfish plans of a Jane Austen movie and crocheting.

I’m so thankful to the Lord for His mercy and patience with me and my stubborn heart.

I’m so glad He showed me what was occurring inside me and took me to time-out.

I’m so very blessed, that He showed me not only the thing I was wrestling with, but also the way to let Jesus beat it.

How great and awesome is He!

How full of compassion and love and a desire for our good!

How wonderful is His unending care and tireless polishing of the heart!

Truly:

Psalm 48:1 KJV — A Song and Psalm for the sons of Korah. Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised in the city of our God, in the mountain of his holiness.

Dear Lord Jesus,

Thank You so much for Your patience with me. Thank You for Your love. Thank You for Your truth. Lord, it is embarrassing to see my sin, but so freeing to see how You walked me away from it. Please continue to guide and hone my heart. Lord, I don’t want to sin against You. Please help me to see the warning, before I end up needing to go into time-out, but I thank You for time-out. Lord, thank You for correcting me and not allowing me to continue in sin. Lord Jesus, please do not allow my poor behavior to harm my family, they don’t deserve it. Instead, please help me to speak words of apology and to turn away from future temptation. Thank You, Lord for saving me. Thank You for loving me. I love You. Amen.

Fighting fear with praise

And he said, “Listen, all you of Judah and you inhabitants of Jerusalem, and you, King Jehoshaphat! Thus says the Lord to you: ‘Do not be afraid nor dismayed because of this great multitude, for the battle is not yours, but God’s.
II Chronicles 20:15 NKJV

You will not need to fight in this battle. Position yourselves, stand still and see the salvation of the Lord , who is with you, O Judah and Jerusalem!’ Do not fear or be dismayed; tomorrow go out against them, for the Lord  is with you.”
II Chronicles 20:17 NKJV

From their perspective, the people of Judah, they had a major problem.

An enemy so numerous they described them as: “A great multitude” 2 Chronicles 20:2b.

But Jehoshaphat’s fear set him to seeking the LORD. 2 Chronicles 20:3a

And God’s answer is: “Position yourselves, stand still and see the salvation of the Lord,”. 2 Chronicles 20:15b

And what position did they take?

So they rose early in the morning and went out into the Wilderness of Tekoa; and as they went out, Jehoshaphat stood and said, “Hear me, O Judah and you inhabitants of Jerusalem: Believe in the Lord your God, and you shall be established; believe His prophets, and you shall prosper.” And when he had consulted with the people, he appointed those who should sing to the Lord , and who should praise the beauty of holiness, as they went out before the army and were saying: “Praise the Lord , For His mercy endures forever.” Now when they began to sing and to praise, the Lord set ambushes against the people of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir, who had come against Judah; and they were defeated.
II Chronicles 20:20‭-‬22 NKJV

They took the position of praise.

Yes, I’m certain they had their weapons, but they didn’t trust in their own strength.

Instead, they trusted in God’s promise and praised Him.

They literally praised God for His mercy while facing a horde of their enemies.

“Now when they began to sing and to praise,…and they were defeated.”

The enemy was defeated.

It’s still true today.

Psalm 9:10 NKJV — And those who know Your name will put their trust in You; For You, LORD, have not forsaken those who seek You.

No matter the circumstances we face, as believers in Christ Jesus we can praise God for He has already defeated the enemy.

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 6:23 NKJV

Nothing on Earth compares to the blessed assurance of one’s soul being safe in the Lord’s care.

Therefore, those called by the name of Jesus should praise God.

It’s a privilege to worship the Lord.

It’s an opportunity to defeat the fear, discouragement, and doubt of the enemy who wants to steal, kill, and destroy.

John 10:10 NKJV — “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.

As a follower of Christ, I’m taking the position of praise.

Like Jehoshaphat, I’m trusting in God’s promises.

I pray that for you as well.

Romans 15:13 NKJV — Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Dear Lord Jesus,
How great is Your name and how wonderous Your mighty works! You have conquered fear and death and the enemy of our souls. Your power and might and love are beyond anything I can comprehend. You defend the weak, You save the lost, You heal the broken, You restore the sick. Lord, in You is all that we ever need. No matter what is occurring around us, no matter what the past has held, we can look to You and be safe. For great are Your works and mighty are Your commandments. There is safety in the shadow of the Almighty, because no matter what the enemy may do to us here on Earth, our souls are safe with You, because we place our trust in Your name, Jesus. Thank You so much for all You have done and are doing on our behalf. I love You, Lord. Amen.

Blessing and lessons

Mother’s day tea!

It was so sweet and I was truly blessed.

It placed a beautiful memory in my heart.

The tea party was lovely and I was so thankful to God for my family.

As the day came to a close, I realized I needed to get by myself and pray.

There had been an underlying something bothering me.

It was an unsettling, almost fidgety emotion, but I couldn’t figure out what it was.

Before the Lord, it became clear.

This fidgety unsettling feeling was simply my old nemesis: fear.

Uhg!

Where did that creep in?!

Yet, I knew it had to be confessed and submitted to the Lord, rather than worried over.

So, I began, with the Lord, unraveling the balled up mess of fear.

One strand at a time, until I came to the center, hurt.

Something I thought was way back in my past and long since dealt with was the center of this.

My heart hurt and I had to confess this hurt and choose again to forgive, to place it in Jesus’s understanding hands, and to ask Him to fill my hurt with healing and love.

Because when I’m full of love for the ones who hurt me, then I’m no longer afraid the hurt will come again.

Crazy thing about this circumstance, I know it was not intended, nor were they ever aware of it.

Sometimes hurt happens, and just like someone accidentally dropping something on my foot, when they dropped something on my heart I can feel the pain and realize it wasn’t on purpose.

I can walk in forgiveness.

Which was the lesson for my evening.

Although, I didn’t really like having to deal with this sin (because fear of any person but God is sin) I was thankful the Lord showed it to me.

When I first began my “Good morning” chat with the Lord, He pointed out another sin.

My feet hadn’t hit the floor, I hadn’t really done more than roll over and greet the Lord, when He unveiled my heart to me.

This time it was discontent.

Uhg, uhg!

It didn’t take more than a moment for God to show me my error.

I immediately recognized my need to repent and return to a place of contentment.

Which I did.

My sorrow lingered, after all I don’t like having sin creep into my life.

It’s disgusting, it hinders my walk with the Lord and my family, it’s a cancer which eats away at my relationships.

I truly appreciate God’s mercy and grace in showing me my heart that I might turn away from sin and choose what is right.

How I long for the day when I no longer struggle in the mire of my own sin and can be completely at rest in Christ.

But I would not shorten my time God has given.

That too would be sin.

Instead, I must continue to learn humility before my Lord and my fellow man.

To keep my heart daily before God, that His light of truth and love may hone me.

Although it was uncomfortable, I feel so much peace now.

To look at my sin and repent, to be washed by Jesus’s love and forgiveness is so refreshing and beautiful.

I know Jesus will continue to walk with me into today and I’m so thankful He loves me enough to deal with my sin.

Praise the Lord!

Dear Lord Jesus,

Thank You for walking daily with me. Lord, thank You for dealing with both discontentment and fear in my heart. Please help me to place guards in my actions, my attitudes, and my activities that I might not slip back into either of these sins. Lord, if You would have me speak to someone in more detail so they might hold me accountable on these, I am willing. Lord, I want to live with a pure heart, and You alone are the only One who can create that in me. Please continue to polish my heart, no matter how uncomfortable it is. Thank You for all Your love, mercy, grace, and truth! You are incredible! Thank You for forgiving me. I love You, Jesus!

Amidst the uncertainty…

Let us pray.


Dear Lord Jesus,
Thank You for helping us. Thank You for watching over us. Lord, You alone know and understand what is best. Our world has changed in a very short time and things are uncertain. Lord, there is so much that we don’t understand nor can we. Jesus, please help us to look to You in all of this. Please help us to walk forward into Your will and be unafraid. Lord, please let the hearts of mankind become soft and turn to You. Let this plague cause us to surrender every part and piece of our lives to You. Lord Jesus, You are good. You are worthy of all praise. You are faithful. Thank You for walking with us through this. Lord, please hold them in Your hands and save many souls. Comfort the hurting. Protect the innocent. Restore the broken. Return the prodigal. Please, let Your name be glorified throughout the whole Earth, Jesus. Amen.

I will lift up my eyes to the hills— From whence comes my help? My help comes from the Lord , Who made heaven and earth.
Psalms 121:1‭-‬2 NKJV

The Emperor’s buttons

Do you recall the old story?

Hans Christian Anderson wrote a memorable story about an Emperor’s vanity.

The garments were supposed to be only visible to those who were highly intelligent or very capable to do their job.

So, when no one could see them, they were tricked into believing it was a lack of ability on their own part.

Of course these invisible garments were a hoax.

The men posing as taylors got off with the money and the Emperor got swindled.

The Lord pointed out a incredible truth I’d never seen before.

The Emperor’s clothes were invisible, but the buttons which fastened them on are clearly seen.

From the very beginning the Emperor is easily caught by his pride, his fear, and his secret insecurity.

Each of those traits were used by his enemy to trick him, trap him, and eventually lead him into public disgrace.

If the Emperor wasn’t concerned about keeping up his appearance.

Being the guy with the enviable style.

Putting a high value in material status.

He wouldn’t have been so easily caught by the first button of vanity.

The next one, inferiority, caused him to keep silent when he should have been asking questions.

Neither he, nor anyone else could see this material or the clothes, because they weren’t real.

Yet, a lie, carefully crafted, button the Emperor into this hoax even more securely.

The final button of fear, was what sealed his fate.

When he choose to allow fear full expression by literally dressing into nothing and then walking around in front of his subjects in this state, his folly caught up with him.

He was made a literal fool before them all.

Although this is a children’s tale.

Made up by a Master Story Teller.

It holds incredible truth for all ages.

The enemy knows our weak points.

He studies our attitudes and actions.

His goal is to steal, kill, and destroy.

And it’s all the better when he can use our own flesh and sin to bind us up into his plans.

I’m certain the Emperor didn’t think of himself as vain.

He just figured it was part of his duty to set the style.

I’m positive he would never have admitted to feeling inferior or unable to do his job.

Yet, his actions tell on him.

Lastly, fear can be so easily disguised as “just being careful” or “doing what feels right at the time” or any number of masks.

It is only through Jesus that we can be free from fear, find value and security in His calling, and be shown our true selves for the Creator to melt away the dross.

On our own, we all will eventually allow ourselves to be made foolish and bare before others.

However, if we bare our hearts before Jesus and trust in Him, no amount of ridicule or humiliation from others can rob you of the joy of Christ Jesus.

Because He too became bare and humbled before all.

But He chose to.

His character of love, mercy, and grace were what led Him to allow His death upon the cross.

But His story ends in hope.

Eternal salvation for all who trust in Him, because He rose again and is preparing a place for all who are called by His name.

What a wonderful story!

And this one isn’t a fairytale.

“Evil tidings…”

“He will not be afraid of evil tidings; His heart is steadfast, trusting in the LORD,” Psalm 112:7

Weeks ago, these words leapt off the page.

They have been a comfort as well as thought provoking.

Am I “not afraid of evil tidings”?

When I first read these words, my answer was, “no, I do fear bad news”.

Of course I know that’s not God’s will and these words have helped me walk away from the fear.

As I meditated on the profound truth, it struck me.

The righteous isn’t fearless, because bad news will never come.

He’s fearless due to his relationship with God.

The righteous understands God and doesn’t have a worry or a concern about the future due to that understanding.

I get that.

God has been so incredibly faithful to me, my entire life.

When things seemed at their worst, He carried me through.

With the knowledge of God and His goodness, it’s natural to not fear evil tidings.

But the enemy of our souls doesn’t want that, and it only takes a short while to see.

The slithering doubting thoughts often flying through the mind are not God.

It takes purposeful effort to weed out the seeds of fear and doubt.

It’s worth it, though.

How wonderful to be free of fear!

To not fear evil tidings.

To be unconcerned for the future, but live content in today.

Quite the difference from the average, but what a blessing.

With each new day comes the opportunity.

Will I have contentment

or

will I choose to be afraid?

God’s helping me to choose, each and every day.

Dear Jesus,

Thank You for these words. Thank You for being the reason I can be called righteous, since I would never be on my own. Lord Jesus, please continue to teach me how to walk in the place where fear is absent and contentment is present. Thank You that Your faithfulness is the reason for that as well. May my life, lived with You, bring Your light to others.

Snares of the enemy

The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.
John 10:10 NKJV

It’s part of living for Christ.

These are His own words.

Awarning us of the enemy and showing the stark difference between Himself and God’s enemy.

Since there is an enemy, it means we need to be aware of the traps used to ensnare us.

There are many ways one is disguised, but the basis of a powerful gripping debilitating snare is

fear.

Stop and ponder the poor choices which have been made due to fear.

The reactions to others, due to fear.

What would even one day look like if fear was totally absent?

It’s a powerful, even deadly, snare.

The Father understands the danger.

“And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.”
Matthew 10:28 NKJV

“But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.”
Luke 12:7 NKJV

“For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, ‘Abba, Father.'”
Romans 8:15 NKJV

For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.
II Timothy 1:7 NKJV

And there are many more verses which deal with fear.

Yet, it’s so easy to fall into.

The only way to combat the snare is with faith and trust in Christ Jesus.

He alone can save our souls from the consequences of sin.

He alone can remove the sticky web of fear.

It is through total surrender that one can live in faith and trust in Jesus.

Only when one let’s go of control and passes it into God’s hands can they hold tightly to Jesus.

When that transfer comes the lines of fear are cut.

But it’s a daily, sometimes moment-bu-moment choice.

But nothing can compare to the blessings of the sticky, terrible, strings of fear being done away with.

Dear Lord Jesus,

Thank You for cutting the tangled mess of sin and fear. Please continue to help me see the strings and snares of the enemy, that I might avoid those areas. Lord, please continue to teach me how to surrender. I know it’s easy for me to want to control things, it’s hard for me to give up my desire to make the decisions, or to look after my best interests. Really, You alone know what is the best for me and only through total submission can I hear Your plan for me. Thank You for Your patience. Thank You for Your faithfulness and love. May my life be used by You to help others become free from fear.

Swaddling

Something incredible.

My heart learned another meaning to falling in love yesterday.

Watching my husband hold our granddaughter.

There is something so precious about a big strong man being gentlesoft.

Again I praised God for the man I call husband.

And to add to the lesson…

Watching our son-in-law serve our daughter,

get meals,

change diapers,

and tenderly carry his newborn,

were heart-melting moments.

The drive home continued to replay the beautiful hours we spent together.

The joys of watching our other daughters and our son tenderly holding baby Faith.

Words do little to describe the heart.

And after all of this I realized anew my need for God.

Because I am an adult there are times I think I’m independent and able to care for myself.

The truth is…

I am even more helpless than baby Faith.

Whenever I try to accomplish anything in my own strength I end up looking like a startled baby; arms outstretched, crying from fear.

To comfort a newborn they need to be wrapped or swaddled so they feel safe.

That has been my prayer this morning.

I want to be swaddled and tucked up on my Heavenly Father’s arm.

I want to feel the comfort and protection I know He has always provided.

I want to be free from the false idea that I can do anything on my own.

Because there’s no peace or joy in striving in one’s own strength.

There’s no security or even truth in “I did it myself!”.

True peace is found only in complete trust.

And just as Faith slept peacefully upon her grandfather and father, I can walk with peace today.

God is faithful.

He is my Father.

I will fear no evil.

I will rest in His will this day.

2am

Some things don’t work.

Like Spud here trying to fit in the cat bed.

I’ve seen him try so many times to get himself to fit.

But it never happens.

And the crazy thing is his own bed is always nearby.

He can rest comfortably on it, but no.

He keeps working at something that will never happen.

This morning at 2am I was praying.

Not because I wanted to be awake, but because I was wrestling the bed.

As I prayed God spoke.

Bitterness.

Uhg.

“Lord, no! I’ve forgiven–”

The Lord only had to mention one word.

I knew instantly.

“Yes, I am still bitter. I’m still hurting and I can’t see around it.”

So, I struggled with forgiving again.

I was frustrated.

“Lord, I’ve done this so many times! I thought it was gone. I thought I’d given it to You. Why has it returned to rob me of my rest and peace?”

You are still hurting.

-ouch!-

It was like God tore off a bandage which was simply holding the infection in.

But as I was free to look at myself,

to take stock of the hurt,

I realized where the hurt was coming from.

To see inside oneself through the gifts of God’s discernment is truly humbling and

healing.

This isn’t going to be an instant fix.

Bitterness is an invasive disease which sends out runners to every possible point inside a heart.

It links memories and relationships into a web of pain stifling the infected so gradually that it can go unnoticed for a very long time.

And for me to root out those long tendrils of hurting unforgiviness I had to go to the root.

fear

I don’t want to hurt any more.

I can’t change my physical pain, but I’ve been unconsciously trying to protect myself from emotional pain.

The only way to protect myself is something that simply won’t happen.

I’d need to order all the circumstances in my life.

I’d been trying to control things.

I’m not God.

I’m not supposed to try and keep myself safe.

I’m supposed to rest in His Sovereignty.

To leave behind the nonsense which will never work and trust Jesus.

Hurt will come. But I shall heal you.

-sigh-

“Jesus, take every tendril, every shred, every piece of bitterfearhurt and remove it. Thank You for bringing it to my attention. I don’t want to continue to try to control my life, my circumstances, or my family in any way. I want to rest in Your will. I want to trust Your path. I want to be free from the past. Help me…”

Put out

image

Nope, the dog didn’t get put out.

In fact this picture was proof that he can live with cats.

He just didn’t realize it before.

What’s great about this picture is the cat was on the bed first.

She didn’t move a muscle when he came to relax on his bed.

For some reason this little kitty has won the dog over.

And he gets to stay in the house, because he is very careful not to molest either baby cat.

Just yesterday an older gentleman looked at me and said, “Well you can’t teach an old dog new tricks.”

He was referring to his struggle with learning something new and he didn’t say it as an excuse but to explain his difficulty.

Yet, he turned right around and tried again to conquer the thing which was the struggle.

He didn’t allow his age to put him out.

Little did I realize at the time, but God would teach me about putting something out.

At some unhealthy hour I woke.

I couldn’t go back to sleep so I began praying.

To my disgust I began to cry.

What on earth is wrong with me?

Why am I feeling so many emotions?

Nothing horrible is occurring so where is the reason for the tears?

Well…

It’s not complicated.

We’ve been through a lot lately.

And the emotions were tied to fear.

All kinds of silly ones.

As I prayed and sifted through the jumbled emotions the picture became clear.

My physical body is weak which pointed directly to my inadequacies.

This led to fear of being unable to…you name it, whatever fits!

The crazy thing about it all is I’m always unable.

The only reason I’m accomplishing anything at all is through Jesus Christ.

How silly to cry over something I’ve never been able to do!

Of course emotions are not always rational.

The simple truth,
the reality of the fact that I was struggling with fear helped me choose to trust.

I changed my prayers and began asking for faith to trust Him more.

I began to thank Him for all He has already done.

I thanked Him for all He is going to do, because no matter what, I know He will be with me.

I was able to let go of things I hadn’t realized I was holding on to.

Then I began to pray for things in our future.

No I wasn’t telling the Lord how I expect it to go.

Instead I was standing before the Lord on behalf of the people who will be in our future.

Our children will one day be adults.

I prayed for them.

Most people grow up and get married, so I prayed for the people who would marry our children, whoever they are.

I prayed for our friends and the things God is working in their lives.

And I prayed for myself, that I would turn away from fear and striving in my own strength.

And at some point the alarm went off.

I had gone back to sleep and awoke to a new day.

It wasn’t just another day.

It was a day begun with fear put out.

And I’m here to say, it has been a truly lovely day.